Rest is essential for health and wellness. It’s the flip side of the movement coin. We need true downtime in our lives so our bodies can switch from action mode to healing and recovery mode.
Resting sounds like it should be easy but it can be really tough! The first step is giving yourself permission to do nothing: our super busy, results-focused culture can make this really tough. But rest is really, really important for our bodies and most of us are seriously missing out. Taking time to make rest a priority may feel like an indulgence, but it’s one that you never have to feel guilty about!
Let go of tension patterns
It’s important to learn how to let go of the habitual tension patterns we create in our bodies. Jaw clenching, belly tightening, tense traps and shoulders, or a tight pelvic floor are all very common and very not awesome for our bodies in the long term.
Learning to let go of tension takes a combination of practice, increasing body awareness and sometimes, changing our movement patterns. Self massage techniques can be really useful here as well since they help us connect to our bodies and relax our muscles. The irradiation practice in my Joints For Life program is also a great tool, as are the physical releases I teach in my Take10 coaching program.
Try this psoas release – one of my top exercises for every modern body – and see what you think. I’ll warn you – you probably won’t notice a lot of sensation during the release. That’s not the point. What we’re looking for is the change that’s created in our ribcage and hip alignment after the release so make sure to do the test and retest.
Get large amounts of high quality sleep
We all need to get large quantities regular sleep so our brains and bodies can heal and recover from the demands of life.
Sleep is absolutely essential to our lives and it’s only recently that we’ve discovered all the many functions that sleep has in our bodies. We need sleep in order to learn and to store memories. Sleep is when our brains get cleaned of the toxic build-ups that are known to be linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia. And sleep is essential for our immune systems as well.
How much sleep do we need? It does vary from person to person but a minimum of 7 hours a night seems to be about right for most humans. It’s pretty simple to tell if you’re personally getting enough, though. If you can wake up without an alarm clock feeling refreshed, and if you can make it through the day without feeling sleepy AND without using caffeine, then you should be good.
Making sleep a priority and dealing with sleeping issues are both great habit changes for a healthy life. Mouth breathing, sleep apnea and other breathing issues can be a huge problem for sleep and I definitely recommend seeing a good professional provider such as The Breathe Institute if this is in issue for you.
Get plenty of down time
Humans also need real down-time on a regular basis. This means time without TV, screens, podcasts, music, and other fun but intense activities. This helps us access our parasympathetic nervous system – again, the healing and recovering part of things.
A meditation practice can be very helpful for building down time into your life. Hiking or forest bathing or other time spent in nature are also great options. Gentle stretching, somatic work such as the Feldenkrais method or self-massage is also very relaxing. I teach many gentle exercises in my Take10 movement coaching program. The Roll Model method ball rolling techniques are also fantastic for this.
Courses For Resting & Releasing
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